What is a Pastoral Assistant?
A Pastoral Assistant represents the parish, assisting the parish priest in mission and pastoral care by visiting those within the local community requiring spiritual and practical support.
The work of a Pastoral Assistant is diverse and varied and will vary from parish to parish. For this reason the Assistant will work with the parish priest to agree their specific ministry in the context of the local parish.
For example they may:
- Visit the housebound, sick and elderly of the parish
- Contact and welcome newcomers to the parish
- Welcome and encourage newcomers to the parish church
- Offer care and support to the bereaved
- Help with preparation for baptism, confirmation and marriage.
- Help to initiate and develop mission in the parish.
- Committed and active church member.
- Sensitive and well respected member of their church
- High standards of confidentiality
- Empathetic and caring nature
- Good communicator
- Spiritually and emotionally mature with well developed prayer life
- Must be willing to submit to DBS (Safeguarding) checks
- Maintains a personal devotional and prayer life
- Flexible team worker with other parish ministry team members
- Regular communication with parish priest following visits
- Available to attend further training within the parish or diocese as provided.
- Available to assist in the daytime or evenings – as agreed with the Priest
- Practical experience with the parish priest
- Observing best practice within Parish Ministry Team
- Reflection on learning with other lay people
- Diocesan training days are offered to support the Pastoral Assistant
- Advice about resources to help develop as an Assistant
Personal Development Plan
Once trained a plan will be agreed with the parish priest to review strengths and weaknesses and agree working areas and time commitment.
The plan should be regularly reviewed, at least annually, which gives an opportunity to reflect on the year’s work with the parish priest. This will identify areas of progress and good practice as well as highlighting any need for further discussion or training support.
The priest should initiate further training either locally or contact the Lay Development Group for Diocesan training.